What to watch in Apple's earnings
Investors will look to Apple's earnings call this afternoon for insight into iPhone X demand and how much overseas cash it may bring back to the states.
Here are the 3 big things we'll be paying attention to.
1. How's iPhone X demand?
- This is the way-more-than-$64,000-question. Apple (and investors) are counting on the high-end phone to generate a "super cycle" of higher-than-typical upgrade rates and selling prices.
- Recent reports have suggested production cuts, but longtime Apple watchers know such reports have a decidedly mixed track record.
2. How will Apple use all that repatriated cash?
- Expect Apple to talk about buyback and dividend strategy and, if tradition is any guide, say little about its acquisition plans.
- Historically, Apple tends to say the same thing: It buys lots of little companies and, while it hasn't done a lot of big ones, isn't philosophically opposed.
3. Where's Apple placing its bets?
- It's hard to know just how much insight we will get, but as always, we'll be watching for any sign of where Apple is putting its time and energy.
- Though it doesn't typically comment on future stuff, there's a chance Apple could make a nod to the shift toward quality and performance that it is making for this year's big software releases.
- The company also sometimes gives oblique hints on whether to expect it to go into "new categories" or not.
- Services has been the fastest growing part of Apple's business and closely watched by Wall Street.
- In the August-to-October quarter, Apple finally showed some improvement in China. It will be interesting to see how the December quarter went in that regard.
- The numbers: Analysts are expecting Apple to report per-share earnings of $3.82 on revenue of $86.3 billion, per Zacks.